Red Sox pitcher Nick Pivetta is the new Rick Porcello

Seattle Mariners v Boston Red Sox
Seattle Mariners v Boston Red Sox / Nick Grace/GettyImages

Nick Pivetta has been... an enigma, to say the least these last couple of seasons for the Red Sox. For every stretch of confident, top-end pitching Pivetta gives us, he follows it up with having to engage in damage control after the inevitable blow-up. Take his start against the Mariners on Monday: completely in control the first three innings, fall apart in the fourth where he gives up the lead, clean up and luck out with a win thanks to the offense bailing him out before he exited in the sixth inning.

Pivetta seemed to establish himself as a leader in the Red Sox pitching staff in the 2021 ALDS, where he delivered a memorable relief outing against the Tampa Bay Rays. Since that postseason run, Pivetta's performance has been less than stellar. Combining last season and the beginning of this year, Pivetta has a 13-15 record with an ERA of 4.88 and an ERA+ of 88, placing Pivetta squarely as a below-average starting pitcher. Pivetta's run of form calls to mind how a former Red Sox pitcher ended his Boston stint.

Why Rick Porcello is a good Red Sox comparison for Nick Pivetta

In 2017, Rick Porcello was looking to follow up an unexpected Cy Young-winning campaign. He went 22-4 with an ERA of 3.15 and an ERA+ of 142 in 2016, establishing himself as the leader in the Red Sox pitching staff. In the years that followed his Cy Young award, Porcello regressed quickly.

From 2017 to 2019, Porcello went 42-36 with an ERA of 4.79 and an ERA+ of 96, placing Porcello squarely as a below-average starting pitcher. While it seems that Porcello's stats aren't all that bad, we should also take into account that the middle of this stretch coincided with the history-making 2018 team, meaning Porcello's consistent run support allowed for a lot more win opportunities. After 2019, the Red Sox let Porcello walk in free agency, where he spent one lackluster year with the Mets before retiring from baseball last year.

Nick Pivetta is straying dangerously close to Rick Porcello territory right now, and if he doesn't manage to turn things around soon, he may very well be out the door soon for the Red Sox. He signed a one-year deal this offseason to avoid arbitration, and will be eligible for free agency after next season, meaning he has a limited amount of time to prove himself to the Red Sox.

Unless he shows more consistency closer to his run in 2021 as a starter or even out of the bullpen in long-relief stints, the good memories Red Sox fans have of Pivetta may be overshadowed by feelings of disappointment and frustration by the once-valuable righty.

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